Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font


It is Earl Nightingale who once said; “The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity.” I know you and I would probably have, by the influence of the law of polarity, thought that the polar opposite of courage is cowardice. Conformity is the case of follow the follower, not follow the leader. The follower does not even know why he does what he does. Unfortunately, he too is following others. Conformity is made manifest in the words of Willie Loman, who said; “The important thing is to be liked.”


And as the story goes, Loman had never grown up. He sought to belong, to be part of the crew and not be an independent thinker because that would set him at variance with his associates, and risk being ostracised. He does what everyone else does, and no point of departure. Society, being the best teacher, has constructed the socket of mass motivation. The narrative goes something like this: Here is a man who grows up with a programme at home wherein his parents tell him how to live in this world. He is told about education and they do well to send him to school. This is reasonable to him because everyone does it, that is, those of his age and those ahead of him and his parents reason that they too had some education which helped them provide for the family. As he grows up, he sees some of the boys carrying a soccer ball going to play, and he joins them. And that’s what the children in the neighbourhood do.


At some point, he see them standing by the street corners or by the shops, and in an unconscious quest to belong he joins them. Nothing much happens there, but mere hearing and telling stories – obviously no great ideas that would make him a success in the world. But this is fun to him, for he enjoys the sociality and approval. To conform, at high school, he has his parents buy him the trending or fashionable shoes. On weekends he wears his Converse All-star. Surely, the boys’ likes are his likes; the boys’ dislikes are his dislikes. Clouded by conformity, to the question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he mentions all of the professions familiar to his environment. When he finishes high school, the desire is to go to tertiary and get training for a particular job. Even the course he will choose at university will be what his parents told him he should take or what his associates will choose. This is why a group of friends from high school are found doing the same course at university in the sense of; classmates at high school, classmates at ‘varsity.’


Just like every one of the guys, he sees a lady down the street who later he calls his sweetheart and then marries her as everyone else marries. But if the people around him merely cohabitate because they shun marriage, he goes the same direction. Quite remarkably, immediately after roofing his house, he takes pictures of it and takes to social medium to show off his accomplishment. This he does because that’s how others before him have done, and he had a longing for this moment. If he gets into business, he copies what others are doing.
Only a few exceptional people contribute to the development of this world – those of discoveries and inventions, who are not afraid to go solo and break free from mass motivation and bring something new to the market. These have guided civilisation and technology. Otherwise, the masses are content with following the follower – conformity - doing what’s already there.

Comments (0 posted):

Post your comment comment

Please enter the code you see in the image: